Is AA membership declining?

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Is AA membership declining?

Postby live4ward » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:05 pm

Hey guys :-) I've been wondering for a long time if AA's numbers are dropping, but I can't find any data or research. I sobered up from alcohol and other forms of alcohol in 2001. Over just the past few years, it seems I've noticed a gradual decline in attendance at meetings at clubhouses all over the country at places I've visited (which haven't been many...only a handful of states). I have wondered whether the plethora of other options that have sprung up (Smart Recovery, Christians in Recovery, Overcomers Outreach, and all the other "As"), especially as options for courty-ordered attendees, is a factor? If it's even occurring. But can't find any hard data. I am not discouraged by this....in fact, I think getting back to basics is never bad. I know AA will last as long as it works (and I know it does). But just wondering about your thoughts ----
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby positrac » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:59 am

I believe that this goes in cycles and like you mentioned the other options may allow for attendance to slip. Location is also a factor as some meetings are more popular than others.

One thing I believe we all know is that addictions aren't falling off and recovery is more than ever necessary as the horse is being brought to the water for a drink...... :lol:

Stats are always subjective and spun for that certain message and to gauge that is or might not be quite correct IMHO.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:15 am

My good friend shared this observation. He thought there will be an increase in new-comers after the holidays. You are right about other options today. No good alcoholic is going to realize that he/she has to quit for ever. So he/she is going to try all other options out there. I see that all the time in another non-AA board. Its so funny that the moment you throw in my experience, there is some un-ease among people. I am not a religiously inclined or I don't believe in GOD. But eventually they will come to AA if they get lucky.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby tomsteve » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:16 am

2 times of year I see meetings swell in size- soon after new years eve and soon after the 4th of july.

as for regular AA numbers, I attended the same Tuesday night meeting for quite a few years- not every Tuesday night but pretty close. some times there were maybe 10 people there, sometimes 30.its still like that today.
at the local clubhouse I can see the attendance of AA members ebb and flow.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Lali » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:07 am

I have a different question if I may ask. Does anyone know why there are more men than women in AA? I have never been to a meeting in 7 years that had more women than men. Usually there are at least 2 x as many men. I read somewhere something like women are more susceptible to alcoholism because of their lesser body weight. Women get drunk faster than men on the same amount of alcohol. So you would think there would be more women.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:13 am

We have more women or the same number as men in many meetings around here. We also support (attend) 4 different women's groups - all 10 to 30 members. Maybe having those women's meetings available makes women attend more meetings in general?
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:08 pm

Does anyone know why there are more men than women in AA?


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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Noels » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:17 pm

Maybe men attend more meetings to escape the wives at home? :D
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby ezdzit247 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:17 pm

I've been wondering for a long time if AA's numbers are dropping, but I can't find any data or research.


Hi live4ward

AA's GSO publishes the results of their latest membership surveys every three years. Here's a link to the 2014 survey.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-48_mem ... survey.pdf

Wikipedia's page on AA gives additional reference links for outside studies and surveys which indicate an average membership growth rate of about 3% per year.

I first got sober in southern California in 1976 and my ESH is that I noticed meeting attendance began surging shortly after our state legislature passed laws mandating the option of alcohol diversion programs for DUI offenders. Our meeting directories for L.A. and Orange counties doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled the number of listed AA meetings from about 1979 to 1999, going from about 2,000 to 8,000 meetings per week. The biggest AA meeting is still the Wednesday night Pacific Group in L.A. which averages about 600 regular members per week now. No sign of any membership decline in that group.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:21 pm

Noels wrote:Maybe men attend more meetings to escape the wives at home? :D

Also, women tend to be stuck at home with the kids, so IMO are more likely to seek online resources. Here at e-AA, we get a lot of temp-sponsor requests from women, they vastly outnumber the requests from men.

My gut feeling is that AA as it once was will continue to gradually decline. F2f meetings were more popular, but online makes them less of an essential component. Also, let's face it, the attitude of some in the meetings can make the meetings themselves a bit unattractive.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:48 pm

In my area, womens meetings are huge. The mixed meetings not so much because the women don't go as much to mixed meetings any more. I don't understand it because the women' meetings are much weaker on "the program" but I guess letting your emotions hang out is safer.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Blue Moon » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:15 pm

Spirit Flower wrote:In my area, womens meetings are huge. The mixed meetings not so much because the women don't go as much to mixed meetings any more. I don't understand it because the women' meetings are much weaker on "the program" but I guess letting your emotions hang out is safer.

This always concerns me, because part of what I needed to do in recovery was learn how to get along with others - both men and women. How could I have done that in AA if the women were all hiding in women's meetings? I also assume the opposite is true: there's probably a lot of women who won't get well until they learn how to integrate.
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Noels » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:46 pm

Blue Moon wrote:
Noels wrote:Maybe men attend more meetings to escape the wives at home? :D

Also, women tend to be stuck at home with the kids, so IMO are more likely to seek online resources. Here at e-AA, we get a lot of temp-sponsor requests from women, they vastly outnumber the requests from men.

My gut feeling is that AA as it once was will continue to gradually decline. F2f meetings were more popular, but online makes them less of an essential component. Also, let's face it, the attitude of some in the meetings can make the meetings themselves a bit unattractive.


:D or maybe the women is drinking at home with a friend while the husband's at the AA meeting. That's why there's more women alcoholics than men :D Just kidding. Nothing wrong with a bit of humour first thing on a Friday morning :D

Working this program have taught me to be less selfish. Although the journey is my own it involves others on my path and is my duty to be present and available for the still suffering alcoholic where and wherever they may need me. This I owe to AA.

See, when I needed help to become sober I had a choice - go to the rooms of AA or speak to a computer screen. I chose the rooms and when I walked into the rooms there were alcoholics present - in physical form. I experienced their warmth in physical form. When I needed encouragement they were there in physical form. They surrounded me with their warmth, love and guidance - in physical form. They held my hand until I was strong enough to walk on my own - in physical form.

Yes I haven't had the need to attend meetings on a regular basis for the last 12 months and I didn't. Luckily there is room to change our thoughts and deeds as we grow. Working this program have taught me that it is a program of selflessness and how easier to live it than to be present in the rooms of AA - in physical form - so that the still suffering alcoholic can have the same choice I had when I needed help? Perhaps THAT is what is meant each time a sober member write " I no longer go to the rooms to get something out. I now go to the rooms to give something back?"

As with everything in life, whether F2F meetings live or die out is OUR choice. I choose to honour my newfound joy by honouring the ones who helped to get me there by living step 12 in physical form - " having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs ". One of the greatest gifts we can give to another in physical form is to make ourselves available and honour their gift of choice.

Have an awesome Friday. Weekend's just around the corner :D

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mwah xxx Noels
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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby Noels » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:59 pm

i]Just so you all know, my husband will celebrate 31 years of continuous sobriety as of January14th, 2017 [/i]

CONGRATULATIONS to your husbands 31st sobriety birthday Thebowsie :D

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Re: Is AA membership declining?

Postby michmjon » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:10 am

I normally attend a 9 AM meeting and more often than not over the past few months, I've arrived at the club house to find just one other person sitting there waiting for the meeting to begin. A few times I've sat waiting alone for 15 or so minutes for someone else to show up and ended up just heading home. The average attendance has dwindled down to about 4-6 people. The noon meetings that I occasionally attend have decreased in size also- from about 25-30 attendees to 15-20 people- and all this after the holidays when I would suspect more newbies and higher attendance. Weekend meetings and evening meetings remain full house- but I shy away from very large meetings, preferring smaller groups. I've also noticed far fewer newbies in general at meetings. When I started to attend, there was at least one new comer a week (usually a nudge from the judge attendee). I can only recall two new comers this year so far.
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